Sales top $10 million at RM Sotheby's first supercar auction in Dubai

Three rare motors fetch more than $3 million each

First Sotheby's supercar auction in Dubai nets more than $10m

First Sotheby's supercar auction in Dubai nets more than $10m
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RM Sotheby's first supercar auction revved into Dubai on Friday with some of the world's rarest and most sought-after motors.

Top of the bill were a Koenigsegg Agera RSR, an Aston Martin Valkyrie Coupe and a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, built in honour of British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss.

Away from motors, dozens more lots were up for grabs including racing memorabilia and luxury watches.

However, the main listings drawing in punters to Concrete at Alserkal Avenue were the 24 supercars and The National joined the bidders jostling to secure the lot of a lifetime.

They included a sleek 2022 Ferrari 812 Competizione, one of the most coveted of the evening.

“An auction in this region was a very interesting journey of hearing and learning about what people want,” Ghita Mejdi, vice president of RM Sotheby's Mena, told The National.

“We wanted to be able to offer a collection that's curated in the sense that cars aren't seen or have not been seen before."

Supercar 'passion' takes over

The first car to be auctioned was a 1959 Fiat 500 Jolly, fitted by Italian car designer Carrozzeria Ghia, for $39,100, which included taxes and fees. It went for less than the auctioneer's estimate and sparked a mixed night of results, with several others going cheaper than expected, while others went way beyond.

A 1997 Ferrari F355 Spider went for $189,750 for example – well above estimates – and was offered with a pair of fitted Schedoni luggage pieces, Ferarri manuals in a leather folio and a toolkit. It was sold to a telephone bidder.

Next up was the 2022 Ferrari 812 Competizione. Described as the ultimate evolution of Ferrari's famous V12 hyper engine, the car was hotly contested and went for $1.46 million.

However, the biggest money was reserved for the Koenigsegg Agera RSR, one of the only three in the world and the first to be sold outside Japan. It fetched a cool $3.38 million.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss came close to beating it, though ultimately ended up selling for $3.2 million.

Finished in a glistening metallic shade of grey, the car was one of the only two displayed front and centre. It sat next to a 2023 Aston Martin Valkyrie Coupe, the Formula One-inspired road-legal motor, of which only 150 were made. It also topped the $3 million mark, fetching $3.08 million.

Other big-ticket lots included a 2017 Lamborghini Centenario ($2.1 million), 2014 McLaren P1 ($1 million) and 2018 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet ($792,000).

Mejdi, who has been in the automotive industry for years, said car enthusiasts are some of the most passionate collectors and, most of the time, they are positively “distracted from the financial aspect of it”.

“They will never talk about money, but they will talk about the history of the car," she said. "They will talk about who owned the car before, its pedigree, the races it went to or did it compete in rallies before?

“The financial aspect exists, of course, but the passion really takes over."

F1 memorabilia, watches and warm-up acts

The evening began in first gear as a Toylander 2 children's car opened the bidding, followed by several other mini motors including a crystal-encrusted model, which sold for $14,400 after some back-and-forth between two onsite bidders. Those who couldn't appear in person submitted bids via phone or online.

Twenty lots later the auction went up a gear – though it took a different turn – as a Rolex Daytona UAE created a bidding war. The stainless steel chronograph wristwatch made in 1978 is emblazoned with the UAE coat of arms and the Arabic signature of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who was then the country's defence minister.

Cheers erupted as the Rolex sold for $300,000.

“When you meet real passionate people, they will never talk about money,” said Mejdi, adding luxury auctions are attended mostly by people who are merely “fulfilling their dreams” – whether it's owning a limited-edition Rolex watch or a vintage Bugatti.

The first half of the evening focused on collectables, such as a 2000 Formula One racing suit by Michael Schumacher ($16,800) and a replica Formula One helmet from the late Brazilian racer Ayrton Senna ($5,760).

Much of the auction's energy was dictated by the emcee, who helped conduct proceedings. “This is a great gift for a son,” he said of Lot 107, a Ferrari 500 F2 children's car, to which two fathers in the audience responded with generous bids that topped out at $19,200.

And, after dozens of lots and millions of dollars spent, the auctioneer's final hammer fell for the night. Disappointed buyers filtered out among delighted competitors and RM Sotheby's celebrated its successful opening act.

Roll on round two.

Updated: March 09, 2024, 1:01 PM